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Edmunds Pulls Ad Campaign, Says It ‘Missed the Mark’

October 23, 2014

By Brittany-Marie Swanson

Edmunds' 'Absurdity of Haggling' campaign included four YouTube videos that depict a cashier trying to overcharge customers for items at a grocery store, then haggling with shoppers who refused to pay. 
Edmunds' 'Absurdity of Haggling' campaign included four YouTube videos that depict a cashier trying to overcharge customers for items at a grocery store, then haggling with shoppers who refused to pay. 

SANTA MONICA, Calif. — Last week, Edmunds pulled an online advertising campaign designed to promote its Price Promise program after backlash from dealers. The campaign, which was launched on Oct. 20, included four YouTube videos that depict a cashier trying to overcharge customers for items at a grocery store, then haggling with shoppers who refused to pay.

At least one dealer group, Cincinnati-based Jeff Wyler Automotive Family, canceled its subscription to Edmunds after the videos were released — meaning the dealer group’s inventory will no longer be listed on the third party lead provider’s site.

“We did cancel Edmunds across the board, and this was kind of the straw that broke the camel's back,” E-commerce Director Kevin Frye told F&I and Showroom, noting that the cashier in the videos was clearly meant to portray an unscrupulous dealer. “We've been utilizing the Price Promise leads. We have sold cars, but we really haven't found any return on investment. So as we plan for 2015 ad budgets, they were already on the fence. And this campaign was … kind of the final decision maker.”

Edmunds’ Price Promise program issues shoppers a locked-in price for a vehicle to prevent haggling at the dealership. All four videos associated with the program were pulled from the company’s YouTube channel four days after they were posted on Oct. 23.

"Our digital videos illustrating the 'Absurdity of Haggling' missed the mark,” said Edmunds in a statement issued to F&I and Showroom.  “Some of our partners were deeply insulted, expressing that our attempt at humor reinforced outdated stereotypes. That was obviously never our intent. It has created a distraction from our business of helping to make car shopping easier.

“We are terminating the videos and getting back to working with our dealer partners to improve the car buying process for car shoppers around the country."

Despite Edmunds’ decision to pull the campaign, the Jeff Wyler Automotive Family does not plan to reconsider its subscription cancellation.

“It's really struck a chord,” Frye said. “There are a lot of dealers just like ourselves that work incredibly hard to improve the industry and raise it to a higher level and it just feels like … we get caged into this negative stereotype no matter what we do, because they can financially gain from it.”

Comments

  1. 1. David Ruggles [ October 23, 2014 @ 05:29PM ]

    You know, if dealers would just stop supporting these 3rd party lead generators that compromise our gross and demonize us, they'd just go away. As it is, we even support conferences sponsored by these same people. These people know nothing about retail, except their own impressions as consumers. They say consumers want "transparency." Let's divulge our triple net cost and negotiate the margin. That'll work, right? Anything short of that isn't full market transparency. It is relative transparency designed to try to get the customer to trust us without disclosing everything. Consumers see that as deceptive. Either be transparent, or don't, but stop claiming it if you aren't providing it.

  2. 2. David Ruggles [ October 23, 2014 @ 05:30PM ]

    You know, if dealers would just stop supporting these 3rd party lead generators that compromise our gross and demonize us, they'd just go away. As it is, we even support conferences sponsored by these same people. These people know nothing about retail, except their own impressions as consumers. They say consumers want "transparency." Let's divulge our triple net cost and negotiate the margin. That'll work, right? Anything short of that isn't full market transparency. It is relative transparency designed to try to get the customer to trust us without disclosing everything. Consumers see that as deceptive. Either be transparent, or don't, but stop claiming it if you aren't providing it.

  3. 3. steven j. [ October 27, 2014 @ 08:15AM ]

    WELL, iMAGINE THE PUBLIC WANTING A PRICE THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM TO HAGGLE. THAT PRICE HAS ALWAYS EXISTED IT IS CALLED MSRP. WHY THESE THIRD PARTY LEAD GENERATORS EVEN EXIST AMAZES ME. IT IS ALMOST LIKE THEY HAVE A FRANCHISE. ALL THE DEALERS ARE DOING ARE PAYING TO GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS. THEY SHULD BE OUTLAWED. IF ANYTHING THE LEADS SHOULD COME FROM THE MANUFACTURES WEB SITE OR TEHIR ON WEBSITE. WE ALL NEED TO WAKE UP AND TAKE BACK OUR BUSINESS.,

  4. 4. steven j. [ October 27, 2014 @ 08:16AM ]

    WELL, iMAGINE THE PUBLIC WANTING A PRICE THAT DOES NOT REQUIRE THEM TO HAGGLE. THAT PRICE HAS ALWAYS EXISTED IT IS CALLED MSRP. WHY THESE THIRD PARTY LEAD GENERATORS EVEN EXIST AMAZES ME. IT IS ALMOST LIKE THEY HAVE A FRANCHISE. ALL THE DEALERS ARE DOING ARE PAYING TO GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO TALK WITH THEIR OWN CUSTOMERS. THEY SHULD BE OUTLAWED. IF ANYTHING THE LEADS SHOULD COME FROM THE MANUFACTURES WEB SITE OR TEHIR ON WEBSITE. WE ALL NEED TO WAKE UP AND TAKE BACK OUR BUSINESS.,

  5. 5. David Bradley [ October 27, 2014 @ 01:27PM ]

    What other industry pays parasites to denigrate them? Why does Edmunds still feature "Confessions of a Car Salesman"? Why did cars.com broadcast their "No Drama" campaign? I propose we do not need them or any other website like them. Take the extortion money your store spends now and assign 50% of it to increase your used car inventory. Invest the other 50% to continually train your salespeople in phone, prospecting and selling skills. Cast a jaundiced eye on the reams of self generated "research" these companies force feed down your throat. We are deluded into thinking that third party websites are our customers' gatekeeper and we will perish unless we pay them ever increasing rates to open that gate to our dealership. The money we give them will never, ever improve our stores, our salespeople or our quality of life.

 

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